How Reading and Discussing Stories Can Help Your Child Process Uncomfortable Emotions
Reading and discussing stories builds healthy brains in all sorts of ways. It exposes children to words, characters, experiences, places and ideas. It inspires creativity and imagination. Stories help with memory and important pre-reading skills.
But stories are also a great tool for connecting to your child’s “inner world” in a way that regular conversation doesn’t always touch.
We all struggle with how to handle uncomfortable emotions like anger, fear, nervousness, sadness, and grief. Learning how to acknowledge uncomfortable feelings is a crucial part of growing into an emotionally healthy person. The earlier our children learn to accept and process uncomfortable emotions, the better equipped they are to handle transitions, everyday disappointments, and relationships with others.
Books can be a simple and powerful tool to help them on their journey! Children can connect to the emotions of characters in a story in ways that help them feel less alone. They can also learn how to empathize with others and show compassion. When children see that a character in a book experiences the same fear or nervousness as them, they realize these feelings are normal.
When uncomfortable emotions present themselves, you can refer back to a story, reminding your child of how the character felt and what happened in the book.
Let stories become a jumping off point for questions and thoughtful conversations with your child. Sharing meaningful books together can also help you connect with your child on a deeper level, making them feel safe and secure. (You may be surprised by the ways they help you too!)
Here are some great lists of books for young children that can help them handle uncomfortable emotions. Your local library will have many of these titles.
Books to Help Kids Handle All Kinds of Uncomfortable Emotions
23 Children’s Books About Emotions for Kids with Big Feelings
11 Smart Books to Help Get Your Kids Ready for Preschool or Kindergarten
17 Children's Books For Anxious Kids
The Basics are 5 fun, simple and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life!
Here are some resources that can help you on your journey:
- Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents "Read and Discuss Stories" in everyday life. Click on the tips at the bottom of the page for Infants 0-12 months and Toddlers 12-24 months.
- Receive regular, FREE resources from The Palmetto Basics.
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